In the second round of the Class 3A State Playoffs, the table was turned, so to speak. Carterville
traveled to Carmi to take on the Bulldogs, who had silenced the hope of the Lions winning the conference championship.
CWCHS had defeated Carterville in the second game of the season, 30-29, in overtime. This time, when advancing in the Playoffs had top priority, Carterville held the upper hand and came away
with a 21-15 overtime triumph to advance to the quarterfinal round where they will face top seeded DuQuoin.
The Bulldogs came out biting at the heels of the Lions and registered touchdowns in each of the first two quarters and led 15-0 at the half. Chase Kittinger hit Keegan Dennis with a 15 yard down and out pass for a touchdown, while Justin Kosikowski knifed over from the one-yard line to complete the first half scoring. Shutout in the first half, Carterville came out and attacked like a wounded animal in a trap.
Tyler Harrell scored all three second half touchdowns for the Lions. He led both squads in rushing with 183 yards, while the Bulldog's Carl Torrey finished with 165 yards. Harrell got loose on a 41 yard sprint in the 3rd quarter and added a one yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Coupled with a Jake Crayne to Nathan Wachter two point conversion pass, the contest was forced into overtime.
CWCHS had several second half opportunities to score but were denied by a strong wind, illegal procedure calls, and a very tough Carterville defense. Late in the fourth quarter, Lincoln Talley, kicking into the teeth of a very strong wind, was unsuccessful on a 21 yard field goal attempt that could have resulted in a Bulldog victory in regulation time, but the ball sailed to the left of the goal posts. Kittinger had a tough day, battleing a stiff wind and a stingy Carterville defense. He completed 6 of 22 passing attempts for 105 yards, two touchdowns and was intercepted once.
In overtime, Carterville won the coin toss and elected to go on defense first. The Bulldogs' Torrey ran for no gain and Kittinger suffered three incomplete passes. Carterville ran Harrell on three straight power plays, crossing the goal line from two yards out on his third attempt, and a hard earned victory.
Kittinger now holds nearly all of the CWCHS passing records with career marks of 230 completions, 51 touchdown passes, 4,073 passing yards, and a ,549 completion percentage. He also posted touchdown passes in his last 20 consecutive games.